‘If you don’t know Fournel, then you’re missing out, if you don’t know Anquetil, then you don’t know cycling.’ – David Millar
There are things he does alone, and things that he alone does. Jacques Anquetil was a cyclist with an aristocratic demeanor and a relaxed attitude to rules and morals. His womanising and frank admissions of doping appalled 1960s French society, even as his five Tour de France wins enthralled it.
Paul Fournel was besotted with him from the start (“Too young to understand, I was nevertheless old enough to admire”) and followed Anquetil’s career with the passion of a fan and the eye of a poet.
In this stunningly original biography of a complex and divisive character, Fournel – author of the seminal Velo (or Need for the Bike)- blends the story of Anquetil’s life with scenes from his own, to create a classic of cycling literature.